IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO RETRAIN OR UPSKILL
If you thought that it’s too late in your career to look at upskilling or completely retraining then think again. We take a look at how 44 year old, single Mum, Emma decided to pursue a career in the care sector.
Emma Ellis graduated this Summer with a First Class Honours degree in Health and Social Care from Liverpool Hope University.
She is now studying for her Masters degree in social work to fulfil her ambition of working in the care sector helping older people. Emma is a great example of how it’s not too late to think about gaining qualifications to land your dream job.
Emma was determined to create time to get the degree she needed to change her career.
A single Mum with dyslexia, she juggled full-time study with her part-time job in catering. She also had further time pressures with the additional responsibilities of looking after her Mum and Grandmother. “I have wanted to study this course for years but I was an unpaid carer so I couldn’t give up my job and I had my son to look after. I probably didn’t realise how intense it would be, especially working alongside it, being a mum and caring for my grandma and mum,” admits Emma.
She was dedicated and determined, managing her time to fit in her studies.
“I was visiting one of them every night of the week, so fitting everything in was hard. Some days I would be up at 5.30am to get the bus to work by 7am and then afterwards I would make sure my son was looked after before starting my university work late in the evening,” she told us.
Emma feels her time caring for her Mum and Grandmother brought her first-hand experience of the care industry and strengthened her desire to be working in the sector. “I have a lot of experience dealing with social workers, care homes and hospitals due to my grandma and mum and I think that will benefit me because I can appreciate things from a relative’s point of view,” she said. “I know I’ll thrive as a social worker because working with the elderly is my passion. I like speaking up for people who don’t have a voice and I think older people can sometimes end up being a lost generation so I want to make sure I am that person that ensures they aren’t just forgotten about.”
So what was going back to education like for Emma?
It had been more than 20 years since she sat her GCSEs. She took a foundation year that provided a stepping stone to the degree course. “Without the foundation year I might not have gone through first year. It provided the necessary skills I needed,” she admits. “I only had basic IT skills, as computers were not available when I was in school, but I learnt a lot in the foundation year and by the end of my degree, it was second nature to me. My first year was online because of COVID-19 which presented additional challenges but the support from students and tutors was exceptional.”
Emma is keen to encourage more people who want to upskill or change their career to get back into education.
“Based on personal experiences I believe there is still a stigma and negative stereotyping surrounding being a single mum in a low-income job or having dyslexia so I hope my experience highlights how people can flourish when they are given a chance to.”
If you would like to explore more about getting back into education Liverpool Hope University have some open days in November and December. You might also want to take a look at their information on Foundation Years.